The Yankees have now completed two weeks of spring training, and they have also made their first round of roster cuts. Unfortunately, a lot of the most exciting young prospects to watch were reassigned to minor league camp to get regular playing time while those with a real shot of making the Opening Day roster continue playing in big league camp.
No serious injuries have cropped up yet to put a starter's status for Opening Day in real jeopardy, which is obviously a good thing. That doesn't mean that the players still in camp haven't changed their status from last week. As always, here is the key we've used to make our designations.
It was certainly sad to see the likes of Aaron Judge, Jorge Mateo, and Tyler Wade leave big league camp so soon. Judge being cut so soon was probably the biggest surprise, because he is as likely as anyone to see big league time at some point in 2016. Those guys usually hang around camp for quite a while. Unfortunately, Judge wasn't hitting the best. That likely influenced the team's decision to get him regular playing time in minor league camp instead.
The rest of the cuts were pretty predictable. Joe Girardi and company are very aware of the players who have a legitimate shot to make the team, and those guys were the ones who were spared from the first round of cuts. Hopefully those prospects will be in that position before too long.
Backup catcher and backup third baseman are still the biggest vacancies on the roster. There is some small outside shot that the team could also bring along an extra outfielder, but that becomes less likely if they feel like Dustin Ackley can fake it enough to serve as the fifth outfielder.
Gary Sanchez is obviously the most exciting prospect left in camp at this point, but he hasn't hit as well as his competition, Austin Romine, to this point. He still has plenty of time to get his bat going, but there is also no real harm done if he has to go to Triple-A for a while to continue playing every day.
Romine isn't the most exciting option ever, but the backup catcher isn't very important at all. It's nice when you have a guy who can hit like John Ryan Murphy did, of course. It's just not a huge deal if your backup catcher actually hits like a backup catcher. Should something happen to Brian McCann, Sanchez would certainly get the call.
The race for backup third baseman still seems to be firmly Rob Refsnyder's to lose at this point. Pete Kozma did join the competition after returning from injury this week. Refsnyder's 40-man status and solid play at the position so far this spring should be enough to get him a spot on the bench for Opening Day. His versatility to also play second base helps too.
Another player making the most of his opportunity in camp is Ben Gamel. He impressed everyone with a great diving catch in the outfield, and he's shown some competency with the bat as well. Gamel had a great season last year in Triple-A and does own a spot on the 40-man roster. All three of the Yankee starting outfielders are fragile, which could present the perfect opportunity for Gamel to get a shot in 2016.
Which players do you think are favorites to make the roster?